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Will this be enough to keep my cycle? 🤔

Karen B.

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I am transferring my community tank from 20 gallons to 30 gallons.

Everything didn’t go as I planned and I fear I could not save enough BB to reintroduce my fish as quickly as I’d hope.

I kept the old substrate in aquarium water, but had to add a lot of new substrate as well. And as I filled the aquarium with brand new water, I think I can forget about any BB from the substrate.

My plants are being treated in a heavy excel solution in a mix of aquarium water/new water to get rid of black beard algae.

Currently all the fish are in the old 20 gallons. It’s running with the HOB filter as well as the sponge filter. These have been running for over a year. I will transfert the sponge filter right away. I will separate the media from the HOB as I am upgrading the filter from an aqueon quietflow 30 to a seachem tidal 55. So the old filter can still run in the 20 gallons with the fish for a day or two while I scape the new tank. And the new tank will have seeded media in the filter (a couple of sponge seeded, floss and bio ball.)

Some of the rock and hides I will be adding back are in the 20 gallons still, so I guess they kept some surface BB

I was hoping to use my bottle of Fritzyme 7… but it expired last month… 😡

I have 7 other tanks. Should I squeeze some more dirty sponges in the aquarium? I never quite understood the principle of doing that as it dirty the aquarium but maybe someone can explain.

So, say I do all that, can I add my fish back in 1-2 days (3 honey gourami, 15 chili Rasboras and 8 corydoras)? 


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Moving the filter and old substrate will be enough to get the cycle going, but depending on your water (as in if it has chlorine or chloramines) you put in you might see a mini cycle going. Keep an eye on the parameters and keep up with small frequent water changes as needed just to make sure the fish are ok. Other than that, you should be good!

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Any time you are disturbing the tank that much you can expect to disturb the BB, but you should have enough to give it a great start. It will go much faster (and hopefully easier) than starting from scratch. I would expect you will still go through all the new tank stages, with diatoms, etc.

When I moved my 46G, I drained the water and removed the fish. I tried to disturb the substrate and kept the filter in a bucket of the water while I was moving. The cycle was disturbed, but not too much. I never had any Ammonia or Nitrite spikes. I had diatoms but otherwise it was still pretty solid.

When I re-scaped the same tank months later, I kept the substrate and filtration in place, and only replaced the scape and added plants (and new lighting for the plants). Once again, the cycled stayed intact, but I experienced diatoms again. I'm still trying to figure out the right amount of light for the tank, but all is still going well.

The more surfaces you can switch over, the better, but expect that you will have to re-establish what you disturbed.

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On 4/26/2022 at 12:22 PM, Karen B. said:

Should I squeeze some more dirty sponges in the aquarium? I never quite understood the principle of doing that as it dirty the aquarium but maybe someone can explain.

The brown gunk in your filter is a living biomass with a large quantity of BB. Unless you are super aggressive with the cleaning you have plenty of BB left on the surfaces of the filter media. The gunk that is introduced  into the new filter will settle in the substrate and be trapped by any new filter media, seeding it with a start of BB.

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